Ford calls the malady “range anxiety,” and says the new Fusion Energi is the cure. The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi has a combined hybrid range of 610 miles, which the company claims is the highest of any plug-in hybrid sold in America.
Ford is going all-in with electrified vehicles. With six electric models for sale in the U.S. now, the company has committed $4.5 billion to introducing 13 more vehicles with electric power by 2020. The goal is for “more than 40 percent of Ford’s nameplates globally [to] be electrified by the end of this decade.”
Ford’s goal statement doesn’t mean 40 percent of the vehicles sold will have electric power, but that there will be electric versions of four out ten of the models the firm offers. To be even more clear, Ford’s statement doesn’t refer to just all-electric vehicles, although there may be some in the mix. Hybrid plug-ins count, too.
Americans apparently grossly under-estimate the driving range of current hybrid models. Ford cited an online Harris poll that stated most Americans estimate the highest range among hybrids to be just 261 miles.
Even the 2016 Fusion Energi more than doubles the Harris poll estimate, with its 550-mile EPA estimate. The 2017 model is upping the ante by 60 miles, to 610 miles. That figure assumes a full tank of gas and a fully charged battery.
Ford achieved the mileage increase with the 2017 Energi by modifying the powertrain technology and the regenerative braking system. The latter recharges the battery while the vehicle is braking.
Running just on electric power, which is how the Energi starts out, the EPA estimated the 2017 model will travel 21 miles before switching on the gasoline engine. Ford’s owner surveys show its hybrid vehicle owners put an average of 13,500 miles on their cars annually, about the same as all-gas cars, and that about half of the mileage with hybrids involves using electric power only.
The EPA estimated fuel economy is 43 city/41 hwy/42 combined miles per gallon for the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi’s gasoline engine. Based on the Energi’s 14-gallon tank, multiplying those gallons by 42 combined mpg times gives 588 miles, and with 21 miles on electric power, that totals 609 miles, or 610 miles assuming a rounding error. That range is enough to drive from Portland, Maine to Fredricksburg, Virginia and still have 14 miles in the tank to find a restaurant.